How To Handle A Social Media Crisis
Social media crises can be a very scary thing. Many organizations don’t even think about what would happen if their crisis involved social media, but when you’re faced with one – or find out that your company might have one coming up in the near future- there are some things we recommend doing to manage it successfully:
1. Build a crisis team
A crisis team is a group of people who are there to help in the event that something goes wrong. They need to have trust, and it’s too late for this kind of decision when things start getting tense! To make sure everyone knows their role on such an important task, you should already have had some practice leading up together beforehand so they know what kinda behavior from each member will be expected during stressful times like these.
2. Agree on a single internal communication channel
What if your team was in the middle of a crisis and you couldn’t see what they were seeing? You need to have full transparency for internal communication, which is why it’s important that teams use Microsoft Teams or Slack. These platforms allow each person in an organization chat room where all information can be seen by everyone without being hidden behind some password-protected wire fence as Facebook access does!
3. Decide who is in charge
It’s important to know where decisions are made and by whom they should be approved. If you don’t you may find that everything falls apart due to a lack of coordination among team members who aren’t empowered enough within their organizations’ framework to back up those “higher levels.”
4. Put processes in place
There are a lot of things that can happen during a crisis, so you need an emergency response plan. Make sure it’s short and sweet – no more than one page long! People don’t have the time for a book when they’re in trouble.
The key is to put processes in place like mapping out how your company will communicate with customers or other stakeholders about what’s happening (i.e., notifying everyone via social media), who should take action first depending on their role within the organization.
5. Remember who your friends are
You may be able to call in some favors with your journalist and influencer buddies. If so, who are they, how will you reach them during an emergency situation?
6. Know what content you have
Make sure your content repository is well documented and it is quick and easy to find content, or create new content, to tackle a crisis.
7. Decide who will be your spokesperson
One of the first tasks in crisis management is to establish who will be your spokesperson. They might need to take responsibility for themselves and have authority, credibility with other stakeholders or even customers if it becomes necessary down the line on future projects that rely heavily upon them as well.
8. Determine the key social media channels you need to take control of
Determine the essential channels for disseminating your messages in a credible and consistent way. Where is it crucial that you broadcast through these means? The social media platform where the crisis occurs, but typically other important ones such as:
Twitter – where journalists and traditional media outlets are highly active,
Instagram – where influencers and celebrities have large followings and actively participate, and
Facebook – which has a huge reach and is often the go-to channel of choice for news for large sections of the public.
9. Agree on your crisis tone of voice
In order to avoid conflict and create connections, it’s important that you have an empathetic tone of voice. This will help people feel heard which in turn builds trust with your company or organization. The best ways for crisis managers are:
-to agree on their desired response (this should be consistent with brand positioning);
-be considerate about how messages may come across without wording drastic changes as much as possible; maintain honesty while still taking into account the other party’s needs/wants when providing information.
10. Decide how you will measure whether you are winning
Deciding how you will measure whether the tide is turning your way can be difficult. It’s important to use metrics that give an accurate and timely read on customer sentiment as well as complaints so they know if their crisis management strategies are improving or damaging a situation for future improvement opportunities.
Social media is nothing if not a highly critical friend, constantly telling the organizations they follow what needs improvement. When an organization listens and learns from its social critics, crisis management can only get better in future times of need!